5 Eco-Friendly Tips for the Workplace

Every morning, millions of workers across the world commute to their place of employment. Whether by bus, trolley, train or auto, the need to get to work hits everyone hard in a depressed economy. Join us in exploring ways to implement eco-friendly work from home tips, or to become more cost-effective working outside the home.

Smart Commute
According to the Bureau of labor Statistics, U.S. fuel prices rose 1.9 percent in August 2011, after a 4.7 percent increase the previous month. Over the past 12 months, the gasoline index has increased 32.4 percent.  It goes without saying that taking the most direct route to work is most cost-effective, fuel-wise… but planning your commute to enable timely stops to the market or to pay bills on your way to or from work can save money as well.  Following a pre-planned route not only saves money and fuel – it also reduces your carbon footprint while trekking to and fro to run errands.

Know Your Strengths… and Weaknesses
Many people make attempts to save money on workday lunches and coffee stops, but fail miserably due to pressure from their workmates, and on-the-job stress. It’s easy to go out to lunch each day, or hit up the coffee barista on your way to the office, but not exactly cost-effective. It’s not eco-friendly either, when you take into consideration the piles of carry-out cups generated by take-out lunches and coffee kiosks. Brewing your own coffee or tea at home each morning is the obvious solution – and getting up early enough to eat breakfast can help control the urge to snack (or waste money!) If you’re a coffee drinker, purchase a programmable coffee maker, which will have your morning brew ground and steaming hot when you get out of bed every morning. Set it up the night before, to save time. Pare down your weekday expenditures by planning one day a week to eat lunch out of the office with your co-workers. Your wallet will thank you for it!

The Buddy System
Shopping over your lunch hour can rack up mounds of debt, simply because impulse shopping involves random purchases of merchandise we have little need for. If you know your weakness is window shopping (with the end result being a purchase each day) then enlist a co-worker or friend to support your noontime stroll – and to keep you accountable. There’s little harm is confiding in a friend… explain that you’re trying to stick to a budget but you also really enjoy stepping out of the office for fresh air every day. Perhaps bringing a pair of sneakers is the healthy solution in this case: begin walking – a steady pace is time enough for a brief glance at retail storefronts – and reap the benefits by losing a few pounds or toning up!

Eco-Friendly Ways to Work
Is your office eco-friendly? Does the organization you work for actively practice earth-friendly ways to save money and energy? If not, help spearhead a workplace initiative to make the office a greener place to work. Eco-friendly solutions like compact fluorescent or LED lighting and solar heat can save thousands each year. Other office place tips include reprogramming the office thermostat, implementing a ‘bring-your-own coffee mug’ policy for the break room, avoid printing documents that could just as easily be emailed, and instituting a recycling program for paper throughout the office. Offices who have replaced aging desktop computers with laptops use up to 70 percent less electricity and generate less heat waste.

The Work-From-Home Solution
Many businesses have found that allowing employees to telecommute not only reduces fossil fuel use, but makes for more productive employees as well. Every commute not taken saves on money and time – and allows employees freedom in juggling family and career. If a telecommuting policy has yet to be implemented by your employer, approach the idea with a concise plan that spells out exactly how you will operate on your day(s) working outside the office. Set goals and agree to criteria which the plan can be measured against to prove success. If your office doesn’t condone telecommuting, and you feel you have the skills or talent to make it work, then perhaps supplementing your income by blogging, freelancing, or working as a virtual assistant could propel you towards self-employment.

Saving money in the workplace and by making a conscious effort to implement eco-friendly options is an option that more employers are undertaking each day, internationally. Spending wisely and reevaluating your commute or work habits can save enough to allow you to plan for a vacation, or save more for retirement.

How do you save on workday expenditures or make your workplace a greener environment to work in? Share your tips here!

Guest Post Author Bio: The following is a guest post by Lisa at Frugal Living, an Australian personal finance blog created to help readers figure out how to save money and watch your own spending habits.


5 Eco-Friendly Tips for the Workplace — 19 Comments

  1. Wonderful post! In our company, we started an initiative call “Cup and Kerchief” club. The motto was to motivate people to bring their own coffee cups and handkerchief. This substantially reduced the use of plastic throw away coffee cups and C-fold papers. This was an award winning initiative!

  2. I save money buy making my own lunch at work. I buy a bulk of turkey and ham deli meats, along with bread and some peanut butter and jelly. I make a sandwich out of those every day to save money. Not a hefty lunch but enough to get me through the day…plus no food coma.

    • Slowly I think the movement towards remote work is taking form. I know some people that do it and it seems to work well. I think though that as an employer you need to have a good sense of who works for you and how responsible they are. You need to know you can trust your staff to get the job done at home.

  3. Our office is pretty good with being eco-friendly…but we are an environmental agency!

    We have boxes around printers to collect mistake jobs so that others can use the back sheet. We cut up these stacks periodically so that we can use them for notepads. We also have BAYOU–bring all your own utensils–parties. It is inconvient, but it saves money and resources for people to bring their own washable utensils and plates.

  4. Thanks for sharing – there’s some really awesome input across the board! Reusing scrap or misprints from the printer is by far better for use as scrap paper than a hundred Post-Its sticking around the office!We will have to try the BAYOU party!

  5. Very good ideas! If possible take public transportation to work. You’ll save on your own car expenses too. Walking for exercise during your lunch hour is so much smarter than shopping for things you don’t need. If possible make a stop on the way home from work to pick up items needed rather than making a separate trip later.

  6. I like the pairing of Eco-friendly and frugality concepts, particularly with respect to eating out for lunch and purchasing the morning cup of coffee. I think this can also be a healthier option too, depending on where you go eat!

    Anyway, this is a great list overall!

  7. Simple and effective tips on saving energy!!! Thanks for some great points!!! An impressive share!! Thank you.

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